When a baby first enters the world it is usually a time of great joy as the tiny new life is embraced into a family.
For Yem, a young mother in Cambodia, it was just seven days after welcoming her baby daughter into the world that she encountered unimaginable trauma. With her baby in her arms, Yem was the target of an acid attack at the hands of her husband’s mistress.
The attack left both Yem and her daughter, Sophorn, severely burnt and in hospital for many months. Their injuries were horrific. Yem lost one ear and Sophorn lost most of her eyesight.
When Yem and her family were referred to Hagar, they had no money for food or treatment. Years of domestic violence at the hands of Yem’s husband had compounded their despair.
“Before my life was hopeless. I felt so much shame. I couldn’t find a job because my face was not good. I didn’t have a job because I didn’t have skills and knowledge.” says Yem. “But then I found Hagar.”
In Yem and Sophorn’s case their trauma was just as much physical as it was emotional, and their medical needs have been ongoing. Hagar continues to support Sophorn, who is now 14, with access to specialist medical care in a bid to save the little sight she has left.
A bright student, she is studying Braille as well as Khmer and English, and dreams of going to university.
“Without Hagar my life would not be good and my future would not be good. I would not have been able to start my studies,” says Sophorn.
Hagar has also supported Yem and Sophorn with counselling and accommodation support, and helped Yem set up a small business selling food and drinks so that she can provide for her family.
Her life is now filled with dreams of the future rather than the darkness of the past.
“Without Hagar my life would not have changed,” says Yem.
Can you help other women and children like Yem and Sophorn to build dreams out of the darkness they have endured?